Many years ago the Umgume Restaurante was the fine dining restaurant in Maputo. Due to the prevailing economic climate at the time the restaurant was forced to close down but the building still remains and is currently used as the office of the local TV station.
However, as my wife and I discovered, fine dining has again returned to the city in the form of the recently opened Delagoa Restaurant at the Polana Serena Hotel.
Situated away from the hurly burly of the main foyer, this venue is a tribute to the quiet elegance and refined dining experience that it offers its guests.
The staff have been trained to perfection and from the moment you enter, the warm ambiance and friendly manager, Irina Rebelo, will transport you back to an era before fast food and burgers took centre stage as part of our regular ‘eating out’ experience.
The décor is very Art Deco and the crockery and cutlery reflect the grace and style of that period.
From the wallpaper to the glass Art Deco panels that separates the dining room from the kitchen, we knew that both of us were going to have a wonderful evening.
If the weather decides to cooperate, then there is a semi-enclosed balcony area that can also be used by patrons of the restaurant. It offers a wonderful view out over the Polana pool and across Maputo Bay
Aside from the main dining area there is also a private dining room and a lounge for the exclusive use of guests waiting to be seated.
A piano player and not piped Musak makes sure that the music is non-intrusive and suitable background music.(Although the restaurant opens at 7pm, the piano player only starts at 8)
Currently in charge of the kitchen is Chef Alexandre Morlot used to commute between Nairobi Serena Hotel and Maputo but now that the Delagoa has opened to the public he is permanently based in Maputo.
The restaurant is under guidance of the French 2 Michelin stars Chef Edouard Loubet who visits 3 times a year to monitor the cuisine.He is also responsible for the approval of the menu before it is offered to guests.
Neither of us are ‘food critics’ but we did not need to be in order to enjoy the meal that we had. However,the only way do the food justice is to show you images and offer you the descriptions off the menu…
Celery soup…not actually on the menu, but prepared especially for us by Chef Alex.
Starter…this is their signature starter dish! Flambéed crabmeat with cashew nuts and crab bisque. (We were told that regular guests will often request this particular dish even when it is not on the set menu)
Tiger prawns (out of their shells) marinated in a sesame oil and ginger dressing
My main course was rack of lamb in “cocotte” with gratin potatoes and thyme infused jus
Carolyn had roast duck flavoured with local spices and a plum sauce
Complimentary “pre-dessert” was cream brulee with tuile or biscuit.
Dessert was a mocha feullatine slice with Pistachio sauce and marinated strawberries
We ended off the evening with excellent espresso coffee and cappuccino and this platter of petits fours that we could not finish!
A big thank you to Manuel, our waiter for making our evening and the dining experience a fine one indeed!
The Delagoa Restaurant is open for lunch from Monday to Friday: 12 noon to 3pm and on Saturday between 12 noon to 3.30pm
Dinner is served Monday to Saturday: 7pm to 10.30pm and the venue is closed on Sundays.
With 1time Airlines flying from Johannesburg to Maputo return 5 times a week; Monday Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, this is a great place for a romantic getaway!
For the best 1time prices log onto www.1time.co.za and to find out about the current Polana Serena Hotel specials, visit their website: www.serenahotels.com